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An unprecedented all-exhibition industry summit meeting involving 27 representatives of 16 associations met at the Irving Convention Center in Irving, Texas, on October 6, 2011.

The objectives of the organizers, the Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA), the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE), and the Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO), included:

-Bringing volunteer leaders of key industry organizations together in order to promote long-lasting and meaningful inter-organizational communications.

-Exploring current business processes so that all parties clearly understand each other’s internal practices in an attempt to dispel incorrect assumptions.

-Seeking new opportunities for joint action to address issues that can enhance the exhibition experience for exhibitors and attendees.

-Laying a foundation for continuing dialogue.

“It looks like we accomplished important progress on each of our objectives based upon the comments that I heard at the end of the day,” said Chuck Grouzard, ESCA president and senior vice president of national sales at Global Experience Specialists (GES). “When asked to describe the experience using only one word what we heard was ‘collaborative, intriguing, consensus, dynamic, interesting, enlightening, exploring, and bold’ to share just a few.”

“There were clearly significantly different points of view exchanged during the day, but we also found a lot of common ground and the basis for creating some innovative solutions going forward,” said Vinnie Polito, chairman of IAEE and managing mirector of VP International. “I would say almost everyone in attendance seemed encouraged and motivated to continue our work together when the day ended.”

The group identified five key actions that were thought essential to improve and grow the exhibition industry through their collaboration:

  • Continue the dialogue and commitment
  • Advocate on behalf of the industry
  • Build industry understanding
  • Explore & develop recommended industry standards
  • Establish vision

“The real value of this event is to recognize that all of us, no matter whether we are event organizers, facility management, general service contractors, exhibit designers and producers, organized labor, event marketers or exhibitor appointed contractors, live in the same very connected eco-system,” Said Sean Guerre, chairman of SISO, president/CEO of Access Intelligence LLC. “We owe each other the obligation of support and cooperation. This Summit opens new doors in that regard and that is very exciting and promising for the entire exhibition industry.”

The group agreed to meet again to continue its work. A date and site are now being investigated. IAEE has agreed to host a social gathering of the group on Wednesday, December 8, 2011, during its annual event, Expo! Expo! in Las Vegas.

Those attending the Summit included:

American Business Media (ABM)
Jeff Lapin
Neal Vitale

United Brotherhood of Carpenters & Joiners of America
Ken Viscovich

Center for Exhibition Industry Research (CEIR)
David Audrain, CEM
Carrie Freeman Parsons

Computer Event Marketers Association (CEMA)
Glenda Brungardt

Exhibit Designers and Producers Association (EDPA)
Rob Cohen
Justin Hersh

Exhibition Services & Contractors Association (ESCA)
Chuck Grouzard
Tim McGill

Exhibitor Appointed Contractors Association (EACA)
Amanda Helgemoe
David Mihalik

Healthcare Convention & Exhibitors Association (HCEA)
Peggy Furman
Sue Huff

International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE)
Vinnie Polito
Megan Tanel, CEM

International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM)
Jan Addison
Kevin Duvall

International Center for Exhibitor and Event Marketing (ICEEM)
Doreen Biela, CEM
Mike Lynn, CME, CMM, CMP, CEM, CPC

International Exhibition Logistics Association (IELA)
John Harrison

Major American Tradeshow Organizers (MATSO)
Chris Brown
Jennifer Hoff, CEM

National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS)
Les Gray

Society of Independent Show Organizers (SISO)
Sean Guerre
Rick McConnell

Tradeshow Exhibitors Association (TSEA)
Michael Rapp

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